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Int Immunol. 1997 Nov;9(11):1669-76.

Specificity of CD8+ T cells from subunit-vaccinated and infected H-2b mice recognizing the 38 kDa antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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  • 1MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Tuberculosis and Related Infections Unit, London, UK.


CD8+ T cells have been implicated in protective anti-tuberculous immune responses, but little is known about the identity of mycobacterial antigens recognized by CD8+ T cells. In this study we identified the Mycobacterium tuberculosis 38 kDa protein as a target for murine CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) which were induced by vaccination of C57BL/6 mice with DNA delivered with a plasmid, with transfected tumour cells or by infection with tubercle bacilli. Using overlapping synthetic peptides covering the whole protein sequence, peptides predicted to contain H-2Kb or H-2Db motifs, as well as naturally processed peptides, we were able to identify CTL epitopes. Differences were demonstrated in peptide specificity between CTL from immunized or M. tuberculosis-infected mice. The identified CTL epitopes could be important for future analysis of the involvement of CD8+ T cells in M. tuberculosis infections and for vaccine development.

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